DIY: Installing Groutable Luxury Vinyl Tile

I hope you had a nice weekend and if you’re in Sandy’s path, stay safe! We’ll see what she brings our way later today and tomorrow.

In the meantime, I spent much of last week working on my next Lowe’s Creative Team challenge.  This month’s project was a “create anything” project and it was the perfect opportunity to redo the foyer floor.  This project has been one that I’ve wanted to tackle since moving into our home.  The difficulty always has been, how.

The entrance into our home is not only the foyer, but also the space that leads to the garage, our laundry room, pantry, coat closet, and powder room. As being the major entrance and exit path into the home + all these important spaces, I couldn’t grasp the idea of a long period of downtime for this area.  With 2 kids and a busy schedule, it was mere impossible to not make this an easy 1 day project.  So that’s where the how came in.  How could it happen?

Well about a year ago, I learned about Groutable Luxury Vinyl Tile.  This treasure has changed my life and saved a whole lotta headaches!  I shared my first LVT project earlier this year when I redid my parents floor, and since have used it in many other spots like my bathroom and the kids.

When the time came to tackle this project, it was really the only product that would provide the desired look of ceramic tile (you would never know it’s vinyl) , plus the quick turnaround of starting and finishing in ONE DAY.

What’s incredible about this tile is that once it’s finished, it looks and feels EXACTLY like ceramic tile.  You would never know it’s vinyl.  Believe me, I would not use something that has a fake look!

My existing floor was in really good condition. None of the tiles were cracked or chipped, and the real reason for the new floor was to aesthetically update the space.

If you plan on tackling this project, it’s important to evaluate the condition of your existing floor.  You may need to remove the existing floor or put down a leveler before installing the new floor.  Chat with your local Lowe’s customer service peeps.  My local guy was really helpful in directing me in the right direction.

To start off, I gathered my supplies for the tile installation part:

  • Triangle Ruler
  • X-acto Blade
  • Spacers ( I used 1/8 spacers)
  • A pencil
  • Snips
  • Cutting surface

There are various ways to start laying the tile.  Most commonly, experts say to start the first tile in the center of the room, but for me I wanted a whole tile when you walk into the front door, so I started at that point.  Since the room isn’t a perfect square, there really is no “center”.

Installing the tiles is really easy.  Similar to regular peel-and-stick tiles (even though these luxury vinyl tiles are much thicker and more durable), you do just that…

Peel the backing off the corner edge (not the entire tile).

Using spacers, lay down the tile starting at the corner edge.

Once the tile is positioned in place, peel off the remainder of the paper backing.

For my foyer floor, I layed as many whole tiles first, then went back and tackled all the tiles that needed to be cut afterwards.

For the tiles that need to be cut, here’s how I tackled them…

  1. Mark the cut with a pencil.
  2. Use a triangle to draw a line and mark the cut.
  3. Score the tile surface 2-3 times with an X-acto blade.
  4. Gently snap the tile where it was scored.

For difficult, none straight cuts, here’s how I tackled them…

  1. Sketch the design to be cut on the tile surface.
  2. Cut out the design using an X-acto blade.
  3. See if it fits and make needed adjustments.
  4. Stick it down. It doesn’t need to be perfect because once it’s grouted, many imperfections aren’t obvious.

I put together a quick video (it’s pretty amateur, so don’t poke fun please) of how I cut the pieces if you need more know-how!

 

Ok, so once the tiles are set, you can move RIGHT ON TO GROUTING.  That’s one of the beauties about groutable vinyl tile – there’s no downtime or waiting like with ceramic tile or natural stone.

To prep for grouting, it’s important to cover the areas where you don’t want grout.  Basically that’s the base mouldings around the room. For this, I find it easiest and best to apply painters tape around the perimeter of the room.

Onto my favorite part because at this point, you’re more than halfway done :)

For the grouting steps, I gathered my supplies of:

  • Bowl of water
  • Tile sponge (one side has a sponge, the other side is abrasive)
  • Tile float
  • Luxury Vinyl Tile Grout

The tiling process for vinyl tile is exactly the same as if it were ceramic, but the grout itself is different.  There is specially made pre-mixed grout specific for luxury vinyl tile. I used pre-mixed grout made by Precision Components which I found at Lowe’s in the same section as the groutable vinyl tiles.  This premixed sanded acrylic grout has “good flexural strength and adhesion” and is recommended to use over traditional cement grouts.

*Don’t use sanded grout that you mix yourself!

I started applying the grout by the stairs, so I knew I could back out of the space without stepping on what I just grouted. Even though it’s okay to walk on the tiles, the grout does need time to set and dry.  Once ready to apply the grout, I found it best to use a low angle and then a higher angle to wipe the excess away.  Once the joint is filled with grout, you want to wipe as much away as possible so not to have huge clumps of grout left on the tile – it just makes more work to clean up.

Once you’ve got a section of about 3′ x 3′ covered in grout, use a damp sponge to wipe away the grout.

You can easily notice the areas that have been grouted and the areas that haven’t (yet).

Once the grout is completed, I took the tape off.  It’s very important – and I’m only sharing this from a bad experience – to remove the tape when the grout is still somewhat wet otherwise once it’s hardened it’s near impossible (been there, done that).

Once the tape is off, the floor was done!  YES.  Major Project COMPLETE.  This is a huge checkmark off my DIY list. Here’s the result…

This is the hallway that leads to the garage with the doors to the washer/dryer on the left and the doors to the coat closet/pantry on the right.  I recently added a splash of color to this door and since it’s metal, it’s been a great place to display the kids artwork, coupons, etc.  I’ll share more on that in a future post.

Do you see a little something sitting at the front door?  That’s our new little 4 month old kitty.  She’s so cute and she loves the new floor – hehe!

Groutable Vinyl Tile PROS and CONS

Affordable – Luxury Vinyl Tile runs about $1.00 – $2.00 sq. ft. and compared to ceramic or natural stone, it is very inexpensive. The tiles which I purchased from Lowe’s were $1.18 and the premixed grout (for my 200 sq. ft. space, I used 2 tubs) cost $8/each.  Ceramic tile is available in a range of prices, but usually starts at $2 per sq. ft. , so the savings right there is 50%.

No Experience Required – And I’m completely being honest with you.  It’s easy and if you’ve never tiled before, you can do it!   I think a person with little experience can complete this project with ease.  Measuring and cutting is really the most difficult part of the project, so take your time and measure correctly!  Installing ceramic tile is not difficult, but it is tricky and experience is helpful.  Cutting ceramic tile can often be difficult and time consuming.  For prior ceramic tile projects, I’ve used tile snips, a tile cutter, and a wet saw.  A wet saw is the best for cutting ceramic tile, but it’s not easy – I’ve made alot of mistakes.  In my estimation, ceramic tile would take about double the time for installation compared to installing groutable vinyl tile.

Grout Right Away – Immediately after you install the groutable vinyl tiles, you can start the grouting process.  This makes the entire process possible to complete in one day.  With ceramic tile, after you finish laying it, you have to let the adhesive dry for 24 hours before grouting, which results in a 2+ day project, so essential ceramic tile takes double the time.

Availability and Selection – I purchased this groutable vinyl tile at Lowe’s, but other home improvement stores also offer similar products.  The selection is not as vast as ceramic tile (which is a con), but I was surprised by the wide range of colors and textures.

One important part to mention is that the surface must be level underneath.  If there is any flexibility in the subfloor, ie: gaps between the tiles and the subfloor, then the grout could crack and pull away from the tiles – this could happen with ceramic tile and LVT.  Overall though, it’s a great product with an amazing result.  As being a huge part of our home, this new floor sure brings a smile to my face!

Onto the giveaway, which is HUGE!

Now’s your chance to try this project in your home or something completely new and different.  Lowe’s is generously giving one winner a $100 Gift Card to their store – how cool?!

This is the first giveaway that I’m using rafflecopter, so please email me if you’re having trouble – jburger.design@gmail.com (fingers crossed it works!).

Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I am part of the Lowe’s Creative Team and was provided with a Lowe’s gift card to purchase items for my project.  I was also compensated for my time to use the products.  No one told me what to create, what to buy, how to use the product, or what to write.  All opinions are 100% mine!

I link my projects to some of these parties: Skip to My Lou, Dittle Dattle, Between Naps on the Porch, Today’s Creative Blog, Stories of A to Z, All Things Heart & Home, House of Hepworths, Finding Fabulous, The Shabby Nest, Serenity Now, Tatertots and Jello, Thrifty Decor Chick, Tip Junkie


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Comments

  1. Lanay says

    Rather than treating myself with this gift card, I think I would give it to my mother-in-law who is going to be doing some tiling; it would help her out a lot!

    • Jenna says

      Thanks Matthew! LVT is absolutely a great, inexpensive, and easy way to achieve a new look in no time. Just like grout used for natural stone or ceramic, the joints should be sealed once dried.

    • Jenna says

      Well this tile is exactly all those things – affordable, durable, and an easy solution to achieve an incredible look! Good Luck! xo Jenna

    • Jenna says

      With LVT, you definitely shouldn’t feel overwhelmed. It’s truly easy to install and needs no experience. I can’t wait to see if you use it! xo Jenna

  2. Joyce Layton says

    I recently laid a peel & stick vinyl (from Lowe’s!) in the laundry room and a bathroom of the house we just sold. Grout was optional and I chose not to, thinking it would be faster. In retrospect and after seeing your post, I think it would have been faster to grout because when you don’t grout any cuts have to be perfect so that the tiles are flush against each other. Got tricky around the toilet! Thanks for showing how much easier it could have been!

    • Jenna says

      Interesting observation Joyce. You’re probably right, with peel and stick tile, the cuts need to be exact, but with LVT they don’t have to be because the grout “hides” imperfections. When you have another floor to lay, you’ll now know what to do. xo Jenna

  3. says

    We have luxury vinyl in our kitchen and it’s soft and quiet. I love it. It’s not the groutable kind, but It’s been fabulous and trouble free. People always think it’s real wood. The new floor looks amazing. You did a great job and the space it lightened and updated looking!! Enjoy it (:

  4. Jennifer says

    We just closed on our new house last Friday. Downstairs floors def need updating! This looks awesome and semi-easy!

  5. says

    What a great giveaway! This flooring looks fabulous I would really love to try it out sometime.
    One question – Are you at all concerned about the flooring sinking down over time into the original grout lines or does the manufacturer address this somewhere in their product information?
    jacque @theDIYvillage recently posted..Halloween Porch

  6. Deane says

    We have this in our bathroom and did grout. Absolutely love the tile (I was lazy and actually used scissors to cut the tile).

  7. Anita T says

    That looks really great! Well done and the tutorial is very helpful. I have a back splash tiling project to finish in my kitchen and would love the card to purchase the tiles.:)

  8. Cynthia B. says

    Your floor turned out wonderfully! I’d never heard of this groutable tile before…sounds like a great solution for our upstairs baths. But first…must get rid of some old wallpaper up there and repaint! (I think my teenager would appreciate not having polkadots and animals on his bathroom wall anymore, don’t you? ;) )
    Thanks for sharing your ideas and step-by-step.

  9. Betty says

    I would love to install LVT in our laundry room/hallway to meet our travertine in the kitchen. We’ve been remodeling for eleven.years. Yep, 11 years. I’m SO sick of it and we’re SO close to being done. Thanks for the tutorial!

    • Jenna says

      So happy to have inspired you Betty! I’m a huge fan of LVT and it would look great next to a travertine floor. xo Jenna

    • Jenna says

      Within a few hours, the grout is fairly hard, but it probably takes a good 24 hours to truly dry. I did walk on the center of the tiles when needing to get up the stairs. Always check the directions though.

    • Jenna says

      LVT is really a great alternative to ceramic and is not only affordable, but needs no experience to install. Thanks Heather!

    • Jenna says

      Thanks Sara! I totally agree – its fun and inspirational to see what others create. LVT is such an affordable and easier alternative to ceramic, and I highly recommend it. xo Jenna

    • Jenna says

      Not at all. Did you leave a joint between the tile? If you didn’t, it might NOT be able to be grouted, but if you left a joint, it absolutely can!

    • Jenna says

      As specified by the directions, it says to start from scratch (meaning the subfloor) when laying LVT, but for all the floors I installed, I layed it over old ceramic tile – all which were in very good shape. Laying LVT over linoleum would depend on it’s condition. If it’s peeling or lifting, I would definitely take it up first and then lay the LVT over a plywood subfloor. I hope this helps – ask me if you have more questions. xo Jenna

  10. Janet says

    Just wanted to give you an idea for transferring the shape of an edge that is not straight. You can use a compass; follow the shape with pointed end of the compass and use the pencil side to draw the shape on the flooring.

  11. Dennise says

    Thank you so much for the step by step! I am going to be doing my kitchen floor this weekend :) Also, on the wall in your photo ( the stairs) is that wall paper or a painting technique? It’s absolutely beautiful!

  12. Jen Cassano says

    Looks AMAZING! I want a toned-down, natural colored checkerboard pattern so this is going to be perfect. Do you have any advice for installing them diagonally?

  13. Alex says

    Great job – the after pictures are fantastic. It truly brightens up the space.

    I use vinyl for upholstery because vinyl endures. You will have great looking floors (for a fraction of the cost) for years to come.

  14. Alisha says

    Hello! We just bought LVT and I want to grout it. My hubby is worried about sealing the grout. Did you seal yours? How is it holding up now that you’ve had it down for some time?

    • Jenna says

      Hi Alisha,

      Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. I did not seal the grout for the LVT. The color I used was gray/taupe, so I didn’t feel it necessary to do it. If it was a lighter color (white or ivory), I would have. The floor is holding up great and I’m still so happy that I chose to use LVT! Good Luck.

      Jenna

  15. Michelle says

    Hello! Your post is informative and inspiring! I’d like to do something like this too! But I’d like to know if you can feel the grout lines underneath the vinyl tiles since I think you did not level the ceramic tile floor? Thanks!

    • Jenna says

      Michelle, You can not feel the grout lines of the old tile through the new tile. LVT is thicked than a typical vinyl tile, so it’s quality is very good. I have not experienced any issues with feeling the old grout lines underneath. -Jenna

      • Michelle says

        Thanks for your reply! I’m still seeing if I should install vinyl tiles like what you did, or if I should install vinyl sheet. But today I saw that Lowes has this kind of tiles (only the brown color but that is the color I like!) on sale. I’m really tempted now. So I have another question about these tiles. Do you think it’ll look as good if I don’t do the grout? And how do they hold up? Because I’ll be installing them at the entrance/ kitchen/ bathroom in my small townhouse, so apparently they’re high traffic areas…

        Again, thanks for your reply in advance!

  16. Tina says

    Stumbled upon your site while searching for info on installing groutable vinyl tiles. I got inspired by your posts and decided to give it a go. Living in a house with 3 men and white vinyl flooring in the bathroom helped me make the decision too! You are so right…this was one of the easiest DYI projects I have ever tried! I did have some trouble with some of the cuts until I realized that one of my sheets of scrapbooking papers was exactly the same size as the type of tiles I chose. I used that to trace around difficult areas like the door jams and it worked like a charm. I have yet to complete the grouting process, but I already LOVE the new floor and am so glad you gave me the nerve to try it!

  17. Meg says

    Can you confirm the brand/color/size of the light LVT in the pics? I want that exact tile and we are about to purchase from Lowe’s. Thank you!

    • Jenna says

      The brand of the LVTs that I used are Cryntel 12″ x 12″, but I don’t recall the color. Lowe’s has a vast selection, so you should be able to find something that works for your space! Good Luck!

  18. says

    I came across your web page while looking for groutable vinyl tile and I was just curious how is it holding up 2 years later? Would you do it again. Are there any cons to it that you have come across? Thanks

  19. Sue Viscusi says

    I was interested in your reply to Joseph Welker, February 15, 2014. I too would like to know how it has held up.

    • Dennise Wadsworth says

      I have had mine down for a little over a year now. My kitchen and one bathroom I grouted, and one bathroom I just butted the tiles up to each other and didn’t grout. They are all holding up really well to my four kids and two dogs! I am so happy I went this route :)

  20. says

    Great Tutorial ,and fantastic pixs of pre and post work done . Thanks to your excellent diligence and explanation of LVT . You are paying it forward . Keep up your great work for others. . I will complete the kitchen soon when I find the LVT that I need. You are definitely a motivator to try LVT on any flooring.Thanks again !

  21. Kyron says

    I’m considering installing vinyl tiles in my parents home as a gift. Her’s my question. Does the grout actually help keep the tiles in place or is the grout only for the real affect. I installed some vinyl stick down tiles on a wood floor and was not happy with the results. The tiles where not Stain Master brand so may have bee inferior. They where moving around on the floor. And no we did not have an earthquake. They where not groutable only stick peel and stick.

Trackbacks

  1. […] There are also a number of other technical considerations to be aware of, including correct tools, expansion gaps, edgings, cutting techniques, acclimatization time and installation time. For more detailed information on how to install luxury vinyl tile check out this great DIY article from The Family Handyman and here’s interior designer Jenna’s experience of installing luxury vinyl tiles with tips and tricks worth reading – SAS Interiors. […]